Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota is excited to announce that we have launched a VEX Robotics program as part of CareerSTART programming.
“The purpose of CareerSTART is to expose youth to careers in all six career industry clusters and to help them build skills to prepare them for the next stage of their education and career development,” said Director of Programming Brady DeGagne. “Launching a VEX Robotics program enables us to help youth learn about engineering, manufacturing and technology and have the opportunity to compete.”
DeGagne said that building a VEX Robotics program within the Boys & Girls Club has been a goal since the launch of CareerSTART, but COVID-19 pushed the program’s start date back.
Thankfully, Boys & Girls Club received much-needed start-up funding from Kevin & Joan Schatz. Kevin also provided guidance from his own experience coaching VEX.
“VEX provides a great way to learn not only technology but also helps kids develop critical life skills,” said Joan. “We are excited to partner with the Boys & Girls Club to offer this wonderful program to kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity.”
Southside Boys & Girls Club’s Great Futures Coordinator Faisa Omar agreed to coach the VEX Robotics program and has recruited 6 youth to participate. To DeGagne’s knowledge, this is the first all-Somali female team, led by a Somali female coach.
“Most Boys & Girls Club youth have not had the ability to participate in VEX Robotics, due to various barriers,” said DeGagne. “The Boys & Girls Club seeks to remove barriers to participation and to provide a comfortable, judgment-free setting in which to learn about technology and engineering. We also want to make sure that the next generation of technology engineers in Central Minnesota is diverse and equitable through this program.”
The team’s first competition will be virtual and is scheduled for February 6th. Boys & Girls Club staff plan to add another team of mixed boys and girls as the program sparks interest from additional youth.
For more information on Boys & Girls Club’s VEX Robotics program or other programs and services provided by the organization, please contact us at 320-252-7616 or visit us at www.bgcmn.org.